Checklist: What to Look For on a Grade School Visit

By Geri Coleman Tucker
Email Email
Chat's logo Chat's logo

Choices abound when it comes to picking the right elementary school for a child with learning and thinking differences. This list might help you narrow things down.

Looking for a school that’ll be just right for your child? Check out GreatSchools.org, where you can search for schools in your area and find out which ones will serve your child best.

How is the school environment?

  • The student-teacher ratio is reasonable.

  • I know and agree with the school’s policy on handling behavior problems.

  • The school actively works to prevent and deal with bullying.

  • The school is safe and clean.

  • Very few students are expelled or suspended; violence is rare.

  • The school has a good policy for dealing with sick children.

  • The school won’t let anyone take my child out of school without my permission.

  • Afterschool childcare and afterschool sports, clubs, and programs are available.

  • The school grounds are secure and the neighborhood is safe.

  • The school has a gym, a playground, and a playing field for physical activities.

What is the staff like?

  • The school has a psychologist, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist on staff.

  • Teachers and specialists are trained to recognize and work well with children who have learning and thinking differences.

  • They know how to deal with discipline and behavior issues and have a written policy.

  • There’s not a lot of staff turnover.

  • Teachers seem knowledgeable and pleasant.

Does it feel right for my child?

  • The school offers a supportive environment and has the proper resources.

  • The school can serve my child’s special learning needs.

  • The method of teaching at the school works well with my child’s learning strengths.

  • General education and special education teachers work together.

Does it work for me?

  • The school is near my home, or it’s convenient for my child to get to.

  • The school hours fit my schedule.

  • I like the policy for watching my child’s progress and keeping me informed.

  • There are parent-teacher conferences as needed.

  • I’m welcome or encouraged to be involved at the school and volunteer.

What are the academics like?

  • A reasonable amount of homework is given.

  • The school has high expectations for all students.

  • Assistive technology is available for learning needs.

  • The school scores well on standardized tests.

  • The school has a library, a music and arts program, and a computer lab.

  • Children do well in middle school after they leave this school.

About the Author

About the Author

Geri Coleman Tucker 

is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor forUSA Today.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Ginny Osewalt 

is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with more than 15 years of experience in general education, inclusion, resource room, and self-contained settings.

Did you find this helpful?

Up Next

Stay Informed

Sign up for weekly emails containing helpful resources for you and your family.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Please wait...

By signing up, you acknowledge that you reside in the United States and are at least 13 years old, and agree that you've read the Terms and Conditions. Understood.org does not market to or offer services to individuals in the European Union.